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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Zulīkhā’s First Dream

By Jāmī (1414–1492)

From ‘Joseph and Zulīkhā’: Translation of Samuel Robinson

A NIGHT it was sweet as the morning of life,

Joy-augmenting like the days of youth!

Fish and fowl rested from motion,

Business drew its foot within the skirt of its garment.

Within this pleasure-house, full of varieties,

Naught remained open save the eye of the star.

Night, the thief, robbed the sentinel of his understanding;

The bell-ringer stilled the tongue of the bell;

The hound wound its tail round its neck like a collar,

And in that collar stifled its baying;

The bird of the night drew out its sword-like feathers,

And cut off its tuneful reed [i.e., its throat] from its morning song;

The watchman on the dome of the royal palace

Saw in imagination the drowsy poppy-head,

And no longer retained the power of wakefulness—

The image of that poppy-head called him into slumber.

The drummer no longer beat his tymbal,

His hand could no longer hold the drumstick.

The Muessin from the Minaret no longer cried, “Allah! Allah! the Ever-Living!

Roll up your mattresses, ye nightly dead, and neglect not prayer!”

Zulīkhā, of the sugar lips, was enjoying the sweetest slumber

Which had fallen on her soft narcissus-like eyes;

Her head pressed the pillow with its hyacinthine locks,

And her body the couch with its roseate burthen.

The hyacinthine locks were parted on the pillow,

And painted the roseate cheeks with silken streaks;

The image-seeing eye was closed in slumber,

But another eye was open—that of the soul:

With that she saw suddenly enter a young man—

Young man, do I say?—rather a spirit!

A blessed figure from the realms of light,

Beauteous as a Huri borne off from the Garden of the Seventh Heaven,

And had robbed trait by trait of each beauty, excellence, and perfection,

Copying one by one every alluring attraction.

His stature was that of the fresh box-tree;

The free-cypress in its freedom was a slave compared with his;

His hair from above hung down like a chain,

And fettered hand and foot even the judgment of the wise;

From his brow shot so resplendent a flash of light,

That sun and moon bent to the ground before him;

His eyebrows, which might have been a high altar for the saintly,

Were an amber-scented canopy over the sleeper’s eyes;

His face was as the moon’s from its station in Paradise;

From his eyelashes darted arrows to pierce the heart;

The pearly teeth within the ruby lips

Were lightning flashing from a roseate evening sky;

The smiles of his ruby lips were as sweet as sugar—

When he laughed, his laugh was the lustre of the Pleiades;

The words of his mouth were sugar itself.

When this vision rose before the eye of Zulīkhā,

At one glance happened that which needs must happen:

She beheld excellence beyond human limits,

Seen not in Peri, never heard of in Huri.

From the beauty of the image and the dream of its perfection,

She became his captive, not with her one but with a hundred hearts.

Fancy made his form the ideal of her mind,

And planted in her soul the young shoot of love.